We were deeply saddened to hear the news that Lawrence Leighton Smith, Music Director of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic through thick and thin over the past 11, years will not be well enough to conduct at his scheduled farewell concert featuring Bruckner’s 7th Symphony this weekend. Instead, the Philharmonic has arranged for their new, as-yet-unannounced new Music Director to fill in for Leighton Smith by way of a surprise announcement for Saturday evening’s performance. (We’ll have an interview with the new director that will post at 8:01 p.m. on Saturday evening).

We had the great pleasure of attending Smith’s courageous penultimate performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on April 16th and wish him our many thanks for all that he brought to our music community.

Tickets are still available for this weekend’s farewell concert that will also double as an announcement of the new Music Director HERE.

There’s more information and an interview by T.D. Mobley-Martinez at the Gazette HERE and you can listen to Michelle Mercer’s retrospecitve on smith Smith that aired on KRCC News last February below:

The 2010-2011 season marks Lawrence Leighton Smith’s 11th year as Music Director of the Colorado Springs Symphony and Philharmonic, and his final one on the job. What should have been a triumphant retirement year for Smith has been darkened by news of his recent diagnosis with Binswanger’s Disease, a form of dementia. But Smith was in high spirits as he looked back on his career with KRCC’s Michelle Mercer, who offers this retrospective.

Lawrence Leighton Smith: A Career Retrospective

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Disclaimer: the Philharmonic is an underwriter of KRCC.

 

3 Responses to A Fond Farewell to Lawrence Leighton Smith

  1. Jeremy says:

    This weekend’s concerts will be earth-shattering!

  2. Ben M. Birkhead M.D. says:

    Larry Smith was an inspiration to me. He was the only music director for whom I ever did homework in preparation for his concerts. His pre-concert lectures were superb; the equal of the young Bernstein but without the egotistical flair.

    His tenure with the Louisville Orchestra (my local orchestra) was the standout of my supportive association with that organization.

    I have missed him since he left. He is in my prayers.

  3. Jack Elmore says:

    I am deeply saddened to learn of your incurrable disease. I have many fond memories of your tenure with the Oregon Symphony in which I played 2nd trombone. I have often reflected upon the school concerts we did together at my public schools where I taught instrumental music in Portland, OR. You performed Carnival Scenes at Vienna on piano and we performed Don Gillis’s “Diaglogue for Trombone”. You were an exemplary accompanist as well as soloist. I also recall a tour concert that we did in Klamath Falls, OR, at a time when the Portland Trailblazers basketball team was playing for the title at the same time we had our concert. I know you must have known that, since I had lots of rests in my part, I was communicating the score throughout the concert to two members of the string bass section, Larry Zgonc and Dick Mansfield, and you let it slide. I also recall a rehearsal incident at which you were telling the orchestra how you wanted a rhythm consisting of a triplet followed by quarter note and you cracked up the entire orchestra by using the phrase “fuck a da bum”. You did blush a bit after that one. I wish you well in your final journey and applaud your courage to face Binswangers headon. You have my utmost respect and admiration. Fondly, Jack Elmore, 2nd trombone Oregon Symphony 1968-97.

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